Ghost Dance 1894

Another entry from my zibaldone to start the month off, but just a short one, though, as I’m a busy fellow this week. Enjoy!


In 1894, James Mooney, an ethnographer, recorded a series of Ghost Dance songs, performed by the Kiowa and the Arapaho, among others. Several of the recordings are still available, via the ever-helpful Internet Archive.

Mooney also wrote The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (1891), which is interesting reading, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or if you’re a fan of Manly Wade Wellman, who used the book in several of his stories. Which I am.

I haven’t made use of any of what I’ve read, yet, but I might at some future point. I find older volumes like this to be more interesting than modern ethnographies.

While they’re often full of inaccurate or blatantly false material, they also contain a lot of great seeds for story ideas. Granted, some (most) of those seeds are based on erroneous scholarship, but given how often I use Elliott O’Donnell’s writings as inspiration it’s not like I’m going to let that stop me.